Working Wednesday: Using Other Creative Stimuli for Commercials


Commercials are a funny thing. 

As listeners, when we hear commercials – whether on TV, the radio, or even on Instagram or Facebook – one of the biggest factors in determining whether we tune in or change the channel is whether or not we experience an emotional connection to the content. 

Think about it: when you see that epic commercial during the Super Bowl about the All-American family, you get a tear in your eye. But, when you hear the stereotypical used car commercial in your car, you bolt to change the channel.

So how do we create that genuine emotional connection, especially if we don’t consider ourselves to be sales

It can be hard to stand out in the crowded commercial space

people? If you’ve gone through thoughtful script analysis, the next step is often connecting via other creative, non-written stimuli.


Imagery is a very powerful tool. Civilizations have used it longer than written word to document our experiences and history. We often find that feelings come up when we view particular pieces of artwork, and it’s no surprise that even something as simple as color can have a profound effect on our mood.

You can use imagery to your advantage with commercials by adding photos – of people, places, or even things to which you feel connected – within your recording environment. I have photos of my husband, my dog, a favorite outing with friends, and more in my booth; they always help deepen that emotional connection with the subject of the copy. Let visuals help reinforce your imagination!


Music is another – often overlooked – background actor in commercial reads. Sure, there’s usually music in the actual spot when it airs, but how many of us pause to consider what that soundtrack might be when we’re recording an audition?

If you’re seeking inspiration for your reads (or just looking for an alternate mood for a second take), try playing a couple of different songs as you read the copy out loud. Notice the backstory salsa music generates in your mind, and how that’s different from classic rock, folk music, or any other genre you feel called to explore. You will likely find that the difference is substantial, and it can help you in the creation of different, genuine characters and perspectives for your commercial reads. 

What You Wear

If you’ve tried recording more than a handful of times, you’ve probably noticed that you can’t wear things that make noise, like your favorite bangle bracelets or swooshy pleather jacket. The mic picks up those little sounds (thus the reason we get to record in comfortable attire, which is a plus). But have you ever considered the notion that what you wear can inform your read?

Many classically-trained actors insist that a huge part of their process when it comes to finding the character is what they wear. We act differently when we wear formal clothes, nice shoes, or style our hair than we do when it’s “Netflix-and-chill” day, right? So the next time you’re searching for a way to connect to commercial copy, perhaps try shifting your apparel. Try a crunchy pair of Birkenstocks, or wearing your hair in a peppy ponytail, or even sporting a nice (but quiet!) blazer, and see how it changes the character you drum up in your head.

While script analysis is incredibly useful for bringing life and believability to scripts, our creative, sensory connections are what take us the extra mile, from good to great.

How do you infuse creativity into your commercial reads? Share with us below!



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